The 2014 York Ebor Festival gets under way on Wednesday 20th August and is one of the most enjoyable and entertaining meetings in the flat racing calendar.
Bookmaker Betfair have already priced up the big races at York, with the highlight of the four days coming on the Saturday when the Betfred Ebor will take place. The Ebor is one of the richest handicap races of the season, with prize money in excess of £250,000 up for grabs.
A number of famous horses have won this contest over the years including Sergeant Cecil, Further Flight and Sea Pigeon to name but a few. Trainer Sir Mark Prescott will be looking to win his first Ebor since 1994 with ante post favourite Pallasator who can be backed at odds of 3/1 with Betfair. This son of Motivator has been running very consistently in handicap company and got off the mark for the season when winning a class 2 event at Ascot at the end of July. Pallasator is still relatively unexposed and should have a great chance of landing this prestigious prize.
Having first taken place in 1843, the Ebor Festival has grown into a real spectacle and attracts capacity crowds as well as a huge betting turnover. The meeting begins with Juddmonte International Day which features the Group 1 Juddmonte International, a one mile two furlong race open to horses aged three years and upwards. The Aidan O’Brien trained Declaration of War was victorious last year, giving the stable their third Juddmonte in the last six years.
It could well be four from seven August as the Ballydoyle team are set to run the multiple Group 1 winner Australia in the 2014 renewal. Currently odds on at betfair.com, Australia will be dropping back down in trip but that is unlikely to be a problem for the versatile three year olds.
Having opened his campaign with a third place finish in the 2,000 Guineas, Australia really thrived for the step up to one mile and four furlongs when winning the Epsom Derby and built on that success when taking the Irish equivalent in facile fashion at odds of 1/8. This is one of the very best thoroughbreds in training and I’m sure Australia will taste further Group 1 success this season.
The Nunthorpe Stakes is another highlight of this Ebor meeting and will be contested by some of the very best sprinters from around the world. Having been a part of the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series since 2011, the winner of the Nunthorpe now receives an automatic invitation to take part in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
Irish raider Sole Power is on offer at odds of 3/1 with Betfair to add to his other big race wins of 2014. Having landed the King’s Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot for the second year in succession, this seven year old is still one of the very best over five furlongs and looks set to make a bold bid to give the Power family yet another prestigious race win.